World Australia's World Cup meeting with Nepal moved to June
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By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Australia's qualifying clash for the 2022 World Cup against Nepal has been moved from March to June due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Graham Arnold's Socceroos had been due to travel to Kathmandu to face the Nepalis on March 30 in their first international match since defeating Jordan in Amman in November 2019.
The game will be one of eight in Group B to be played in a centralised hub as Asian nations continue to struggle to complete the region's second round of qualifying for Qatar 2022.
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"With FIFA having expanded the June window to allow for international matches from 31 May to 15 June, we will need to utilise that period to complete our remaining Group B fixtures prior to the June 15 deadline," James Johnson, the chief executive of Football Australia, said in a statement.
The Australians lead Group B by two points from Kuwait, who have played one game more than the Socceroos.
Jordan and Chinese Taipei complete the group, with only the first-place finishers certain to progress to the next round of Asia's qualifying competition for the finals.
Three qualifying matches are still scheduled to be played in March.
In Group F, Tajikistan will host Mongolia on March 25 before Mongolia take on Japan five days later, while in Group D Saudi Arabia play Palestine on March 30.
The remainder of the qualifiers will be played between May 31 and June 15 in centralised hubs.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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